The ears, eyes, nose, throat, and mouth all play important roles in your ability to perceive the world around you and smoking can increase your chances of getting many different diseases in these organs.
However, smoking doesn't just affect diseases related to these body parts -- it also affects the way that these organs function. Smoking can actually impair your ability to smell, to hear, and to taste.
just the facts
cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of visual disorders and blindness in the United States.
What do the senses do?
The five senses are touch, sight, smell, taste, and hearing. Your skin (where you feel the sense of touch) has five different sensors (or nerve endings). There are different nerves, each sensitive to different things. Some are heat sensitive, some cold sensitive, pain sensitive, itch sensitive, or pressure sensitive. In your eyes there are two different types of light sensors -- rods sense low light and cones sense colors and intense light. In your nose there are chemical sensors that provide you with your sense of smell. On your tongue there are chemicals that give you your sense of taste. Finally, in your inner ears you can sense sound, and in addition your ears have sensors that give you a sense of balance.
Why are the senses important?
These five senses allow us to enjoy and understand our surroundings; without them we'd be lost.
If you smoke a cigarette, the very first part of your body that comes into contact with the smoke is your mouth. So it's easy to understand why smoking can be harmful to your mouth and teeth.
Some of the problems that smoking can cause in your mouth -- such as stained teeth -- affect your appearance more than your health. But smoking can also have more serious effects in your mouth. Smoking can cause you to lose teeth, give you problems when you have dental work done, and even cause mouth cancers.
Smoking can also cause or worsen more than half a dozen serious eye diseases, including blindness, that can't be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. In fact, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of visual disorders and blindness in the United States.